Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Delhi are among the first to report the surge in the Covid-19 infections among kids.

The Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra has directed health authorities to be alert and appealed to people to consult doctors immediately if children show any symptoms. Addressing over 6,300 pediatricians virtually, CM Thackeray on Sunday said the immediate diagnosis was the need of the hour. A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) later said that pediatricians were advised on how to identify mild, medium, and severe symptoms of coronavirus infection among children.

Speaking about the preparedness for the third wave, Maharashtra CM said, “Corona is not over yet, we must be prepared ourselves regarding the third wave. In the second wave, we faced a shortage of oxygen; it should not be repeated in the future. In the coming days, I want to make sure that there is no shortage of oxygen. We will be self-reliant, but it will take time. Even though we haven’t been successful in defeating the virus, we have kept the number of cases in control. It is the success of our state as a united force comprising all stakeholders. We have to be alert to protect children from the possible third wave.”

Discussions are making rounds that the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic would mainly affect the children. In a hearing, a bench of the Supreme Court has asked about the government’s plan to protect children from the third wave. Maharashtra has set up a separate state task force for Covid-19 in children. The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has recommended the setting up of pediatric task forces on Covid-19 in every district. Some health experts have suggested that special pediatric Covid-19 intensive care units, catering to up to 5 per cent of the child population, should be set up. These developments have been interpreted by many as confirmation that the third wave would primarily affect children.

Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Delhi are among the first to report the surge in the Covid-19 infections among children. The symptoms include complaints of fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea, body rashes, among other flu symptoms, while a few other children also have experienced breathlessness and shortness of breath. Some of the children have even been admitted to hospitals for treatment, in serious cases.

According to the health reports, 81,188 cases were reported in the 0-10 years group until March 24 which had grown to 1,49,224 until May 6; similarly, 1.66 lakh cases were reported in the 11-20 years age group, which more than doubled to 3.38 lakh, followed by 4.15 lakh cases in the 21-30 years group, which also more than doubled to 8.67 lakh in the same period.

As of now, there is no reason to conclude that children would be at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 in the third wave, as and when that happens. However, preparation without causing unnecessary alarm and panic has to be the approach to be followed.